Classic Spring, a new theatre company from former Shakespeare’s Globe Artistic Director Dominic Dromgoole, has announced first casting and creatives for a year-long celebration of Oscar Wilde at the Vaudeville Theatre.
Opening in the year of the fiftieth anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK, the season aims to offer a much fuller picture of the much-loved gay playwright, who broke the mould in his work and his life, defying the landscape of the late-Victorian era.
Opening the season, the Olivier Award-winning Eve Best (Love In Idleness, West End) will star as Mrs Arbuthnot in A Woman Of No Importance from 6 October to 30 December 2017, directed by Dominic Dromgoole. She will be supported by Eleanor Bron (Help!, Alfie) as Lady Pontefract, and William Gaunt (King Lear, West End) as the Venerable Archdeacon Daubeny, in the play, which places English upper class society under satirical stage light.
A family show based on Oscar Wilde’s fairy tales will then play from 15-31 December. Entitled Wilde Creatures, and produced by Olivier Award-nominated company Tall Stories, the show will cater to everyone aged 5 – 105, taking audiences on a fantastical journey through palaces, forests and beyond with a live band of storytelling musicians.
This will be followed by Lady Windermere’s Fan, which plays from 12 January to 7 April 2018. Multi-award-winning actor, director, comedian and playwright Kathy Burke (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Aboslutely Fabulous) will direct the four-act marital comedy, which sees the titular character suspect her husband of having an affair. Burke has previously led productions at many of London’s leading venues, including the Donmar Warehouse, the Royal Court and the Hampstead Theatre.
Lady Windermere’s Fan will be followed by An Ideal Husband and The Importance Of Being Earnest, with casting, creatives and dates for both shows to be confirmed.
Amongst special events in the season, the celebrated Frank McGuinness will present his adaptation of De Profundis, Wilde’s letter to Lord Alfred Bosie from Reading Gaol, for the stage, for a limited engagement of 3 to 6 January 2018. A new folk opera by Guy Chambers, acclaimed songwriter and long-time collaborator with Robbie Williams (penning hits including Angels and Let Me Entertain You), will also receive a limited run of lightly-staged performances. Entitled The Selfish Giant, performances will start in April 2018.
Across the season, over 20,000 tickets under £20 will be made available to encourage younger audiences and make the season accessible to everyone.
Dominic Dromgoole said of the season: “My ten years as Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe allowed me to explore Shakespeare in the kind of theatre he wrote for: the thrust stage and open air of the ‘wooden O’.”
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to do the same with Oscar Wilde, in the kind of space he wrote for: the velvety darkness and proscenium arched stage of one of the West End’s most perfect playhouses, the Vaudeville, just across the road from where Wilde once lived, loved, wrote and entertained at his very first home in London.”
You can book your tickets to the Oscar Wilde season through the show links below.